GT Voice: World needs China as a stabilizer more than ever
Published: Mar 14, 2022 09:47 PM


The past weeks saw the West impose an ever-growing list of sanctions on Russia's economy over its military operations in Ukraine. At the same time, the US also seems relentless in using the Russia-Ukraine conflict to create problems for China by making lurid and ridiculous allegations and even threat against Beijing.

However, no matter how hard Washington tries to drag China into the conflict, China's laser-like focus on its domestic development should not and will not change. 

Although the Ukraine situation poses great uncertainty to the global economy as a whole, the top priority for Chinese officials right now is to combat new COVID-19 outbreaks and ensure stable economic development.  

Ahead of a meeting with China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday in Rome, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan threatened economic penalties China will face if it helps Russia evade sanctions imposed by the West. If anything, Sullivan's remarks is an apparent attempt to pressure China to take sides, which, however, underscored the US hegemonic mentality in taking the international community hostage for its own interests.

Remarkably, Sullivan's threats came as some US media outlets and officials are accusing China of evading sanctions. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, on Monday blasted such allegations as misinformation with sinister intentions. Zhao reiterated China's firm opposition to economic sanctions and vowed to resolutely protect legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms and individuals. 

China's stance on sanctions against Russia has always been clear, and there is no way the US can get China to dance to Washington's tune by threatening to harm Chinese interests. Sanctions have not and will not help resolve the tension between Russia and Ukraine. In the context of the escalating conflict, the pursuit of peace, instead of the fragmentation of the global economy, is fundamental to maintaining order. It is believed that the calling for peace will eventually become overwhelming, and China is willing to play a constructive role in seeking and realizing peace.

Moreover, China has taken a pragmatic approach toward economic cooperation with Russia. China will handle economic cooperation with Russia in line with its own development interests and based on mutual respect and mutual benefit principles. The China-Russia relationship is based on non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party. It is free from interference or discord sown by third parties.

Fundamentally speaking, China's top priority has always been to ensure the stable development of its own economy. In this sense, it is not the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but various domestic issues, including COVID-19 outbreaks, that pose the biggest challenge for the Chinese economy.

The control and prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic in China has become harder with the emergence of the fast-spreading Omicron variant. China's National Health Commission on Monday reported 1,337 domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and 788 locally transmitted asymptomatic cases.

It is undeniable that there are social and economic costs behind the zero-COVID strategy. So the challenge for China right now is how to maintain its capability of dynamically clearing COVID-19 cases, while guaranteeing the recovery of social and economic activities across the country.

With a great deal of experience and lessons accumulated, China will respond to the challenge in a pragmatic manner. China's zero-COVID strategy will not change for the time being, nor will its efforts to boost the economy. China will, as always, take every measure to minimize the impact of the outbreaks on social and economic activities.

Over the past two years, China has been a stabilizer of world economic growth with its resilient supply chains, successful anti-epidemic efforts and steadfast economic recovery. The future will be no exception for China when it comes to the pragmatic approach taken toward economic and social development.

Therefore, China's focus on ensuring stable social and economic development at home should also be great news for the international community, because a stable and robust Chinese economy will be key anchor and driver for the global economy and contribute greatly to world peace.